With stories appearing every so often about iPhone batteries exploding, and a plethora of iPhone charging options available, one question we frequently see is what the actual risks are of using an unauthorized cable or charger with your iPhone. Can using a cheap counterfeit Lightning cable really cause your iPhone battery to explode, and if not, what’s the point in spending the extra money on Apple-certified Lightning cables?
Well, to set your mind at ease, although an unauthorized USB-to-Lightning cable can definitely cause a number of other serious problems, overcharging your iPhone or causing it to explode are not among them.
A cable is mostly just a cable, and although standard USB-to-Lightning cables do have additional hardware inside that makes them a bit more complicated than just your average USB cable, these don’t have anything to do with voltage or current regulation.
However, what can cause problems is the charger on the other end, but it would have to be really badly designed to reach the point where it could damage an iPhone. You’re far more likely to be at risk of the charger itself catching fire than something happening to your iPhone.
Similarly, just like any other electrical wire, a badly designed USB cable has the potential to cause a fire. The current that passes through these cables is low enough to make spontaneous combustion fairly rare, but it’s not impossible, and even a spark from an exposed or frayed wire could be enough to ignite something near the cable.
However, these are problems that affect the chargers and cables themselves, and while they’re definitely more than good enough reasons by themselves to avoid uncertified cables and chargers, unless the cable sets your couch on fire, they’re not going to cause your iPhone to explode.
So how does iPhone charging actually work and what are the risks of using uncertified cables and chargers? Read on to find out…